Racehorses at Longchamp

1871, possibly reworked in 1874
Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)


34 x 41.9 cm (13 3/8 x 16 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Ann and Graham Gund Gallery (Gallery LG31)





Horse racing, a luxury sport imported from England, enjoyed a vogue in 19th-century Paris. Built on the Western edge of the city in 1857, the Longchamp racetrack drew fashionable spectators, including Degas, whose love for horses was matched only by his attachment to the ballet. This scene of jockeys and their mounts milling beside the track at the end of a race was the first Degas painting purchased by an American museum.


Lower left: E Degas


1900, Bernheim-Jeune, Paris [see note 1]; February 10, 1900, sold by Bernheim-Jeune to Durand-Ruel, Paris (stock no. 5689); deposited with Cassirer, Berlin; June 10, 1900, returned from Cassirer to Durand-Ruel, Paris; December 19, 1900, deposited with M. Whitaker, Montreal; February 18 or 20, 1901 [see note 2], sold by Durand-Ruel, Paris, to Durand-Ruel, New York (stock no. 2464); March 27, 1901, sold by Durand-Ruel, New York, to Mrs. William H. Moore, New York; April 1, 1901, sold by Mrs. Moore to Durand-Ruel, New York; 1903, sold by Durand-Ruel, New York, to the MFA for $9,000. (Accession Date: April 28, 1903)

[1] The provenance of the painting between 1900 and 1903 comes from a letter from Charles Durand-Ruel to Angelica Rudenstine of the MFA (February 13, 1964; in MFA curatorial file) and Jean Sutherland Boggs et al., "Degas at the Races" (exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1998), p. 250, cat. no. 49.

[2] Boggs et al. (as above, n. 1) give the date of the sale as February 18; Charles Durand-Ruel gives the date as February 20.

Credit Line

S. A. Denio Collection—Sylvanus Adams Denio Fund and General Income